The Bi-polor ionization air filtration ventilator in place on campus to ensure reduction of the spread of COVID-19.                                                      Submitted Photo

Anthony LaRosa

Before classes began this fall, new air filtration technology was installed throughout every building on campus. This is another step Lorain County Community College has taken to provide students and faculty with the safest environment on campus.
This new technology that has been introduced at LCCC is known as bi-polar ionization, and has been used in the healthcare world for many years.
Leo Mahoney, director of Physical Plant and Construction Management, said, “In areas that required an extreme tolerance for cleanliness, this already existed, and it was considered a luxury.”

Mitigating COVID-19

After the rise of the pandemic though, bi-polar ionization technology became more common at facilities such as LCCC. “Since this was a known technology and it had the ability to have a mitigating effect on COVID-19, certainly then we had all sorts of vendors that were proposing this as an option,” Mahoney said.
This bi-polar ionization technology is an energy component that can be added to an already existing HVAC system. Using the HVAC system as a way of transportation, the energy component cleans the air of allergens and viruses by releasing ions that bond with the harmful substances. This in return allows the filters to easily detect and eliminate unwanted particles and provide cleaner air.
In an interview with Business Insider on the effects of bi-polar ionization, Philip Tierno, a clinical professor at the NYU School of Medicine, said, “[Bi-polar ionization] can reduce 99.9% of microbes in a matter of minutes.”
LCCC worked with Weber Murphy Fox, an architectural firm, to design the project, and they partnered with Rabe Environmental Systems, an HVAC company, to fulfill the installation process.

Maximizing safety

“This isn’t a flash in the pan technology, and if it increases the safety of the facilities, then it is a worthwhile investment,” Jon Volpe, vice president of Administrative Services, said. “We were looking for any ways that we could enhance the environment for campus safety. Are we going to ultimately eliminate COVID on our campus? Obviously not, but if we can do anything to maximize safety on campus, then we will.”